Celestron, Synta, Ningbo Sunny Consumer Telescope Antitrust Class Action

“Since the beginning of time, humans have looked beyond their world into the night sky. But if you love astronomy and want to share your joy with others, you must pay a price—hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal overcharges.” So begins the complaint for this class action against an antitrust conspiracy in telescopes. Defendants include Celestron Acquisition, LLC, Synta Canada International Enterprises, Ltd., Skywatcher USA, Sky-Watcher Canada, SW Technology Corp., Olivon Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Olivon USA, LLC, and a group of individuals.

The class for this action is all consumers who bought a telescope manufactured or sold by the defendants in this case, from Synta’s acquisition of Celestron in 2005 to the date of the dissemination of the Class Notice in this case.

The complaint claims, “A jury has already found that Celestron and its parent company in China, Synta, conspired with their competitor Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co., Ltd. … to fix prices, divide the market, retaliate against competitors, mislead US authorities, illegally acquire assets and dominate the market…”

Synta and Ningbo Sunny make more than 80% of all consumer telescopes imported into the US from overseas. In the normal course of things, the two companies should be competitors, competing to provide better instruments at lower prices, for the benefit of consumers. However, the complaint alleges that they instead “agree on what prices to charge and which products their companies will produce. They have used their unlawful cooperation and dominance over telescope supply to enable their subsidiaries to take over the US distribution market.”

As a result, the complaint claims, “Celestron controls at least 70% of all US consumer telescope sales…”

That’s not all. According to the complaint, the companies “operated their businesses as a conglomerate for the mutual benefit of one another.” As an example, it cites an incident where the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stopped Celestron from acquiring a competitor company, Meade Instruments Corp., and Celestron “made a deal where it agreed to help its co-conspirator Ningbo Sunny acquire Meade. In exchange, Ningbo Sunny lied to the FTC about Celestron’s involvement, secretly gave Celestron equity in Meade, provided Celestron and Synta access to Meade’s IP and manufacturing techniques and ensure that Meade … no longer competed against Celstron.”

The complaint also alleges that Ningbo Sunny gave Celestron and Synta access to its customers’ trade secrets, to help Celestron’s develop its plans for pricing and marketing.

That conspiracy ended around September 2019, the complaint alleges, in an antitrust case brought by another telescope and binocular company. A jury awarded penalized the co-conspirators $52 million.

This case is brought on behalf of consumers whom the complaint claims have been paying too much for their instruments for years. According to the complaint, consumers “have overpaid for telescopes by at least $350,000,000.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

Celestron, Synta, Ningbo Sunny Consumer Telescope Antitrust Complaint

June 1, 2020

“Since the beginning of time, humans have looked beyond their world into the night sky. But if you love astronomy and want to share your joy with others, you must pay a price—hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal overcharges.” So begins the complaint for this class action against an antitrust conspiracy in telescopes. Defendants include Celestron Acquisition, LLC, Synta Canada International Enterprises, Ltd., Skywatcher USA, Sky-Watcher Canada, SW Technology Corp., Olivon Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Olivon USA, LLC, and a group of individuals.

Celestron, Synta, Ningbo Sunny Consumer Telescope Antitrust Complaint

Case Event History

Celestron, Synta, Ningbo Sunny Consumer Telescope Antitrust Complaint

June 1, 2020

“Since the beginning of time, humans have looked beyond their world into the night sky. But if you love astronomy and want to share your joy with others, you must pay a price—hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal overcharges.” So begins the complaint for this class action against an antitrust conspiracy in telescopes. Defendants include Celestron Acquisition, LLC, Synta Canada International Enterprises, Ltd., Skywatcher USA, Sky-Watcher Canada, SW Technology Corp., Olivon Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Olivon USA, LLC, and a group of individuals.

Celestron, Synta, Ningbo Sunny Consumer Telescope Antitrust Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Collusion and Price Fixing, Division of Market Between Companies, Telescopes